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American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.

Diamond Bar AYSO - Region 31

AYSO's VIP Program

The VIP Program provides a quality soccer experience for
children ~ and adults ~ whose physical or mental disabilities
make it difficult to successfully participate on mainstream
sports teams. The mission of the AYSO VIP Program is to
provide a quality soccer experience for individuals whose
physical or mental disabilities make it difficult for them to
successfully participate on mainstream soccer teams.
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Children with special needs areestimated to make up 10% of the school-age population. The VIP Program helps more than just the players. What is successful participation? It should be defined by the player’s enjoyment and the safety of all team members. VIP teams may include those who are:
Blind or visually impaired ~ Amputees or mobility impaired ~ Mentally or emotionally challenged~ Autistic ~ Downs Syndrome ~ CerebralPalsy
VIP “Buddies” and other volunteers increase their appreciation of the individuals with special needs.   They find their lives greatly enriched by their involvement with their new VIP friends.  Buddies are non-disabled persons who assist VIP players on the field. Buddies who assist VIP players on the field have a life-changing experience. For the first time, perhaps, they are interacting with a special needs individual. They witness the effort and determination as many players struggle with physical limitations but never give up. They learn to see and appreciate them as people, and form friendships with them. They will most likely never view people with disabilities in the same way again. What an education…and it’s free! 

It is essential to have a number of buddies on hand for beginning VIP players who will need them. The best buddies are peers of the players—not parents. Some nervous parents will find it  hard to “let go.” This is why it is essential for buddies to introduce themselves at the pre-season parent meeting and to let parents know that their preferred role is a supportive – not active – one. 

The best buddies are peers of the players: older elementary, middle school, high school, and even college students. As there will likely be a wider age range when just getting started—unless there are enough players to divide into age groups—recruit an age  range of buddies to facilitate appropriate pairing.

For parents of these children or adults who thought they would never see their child playing a sport or making  new friends, VIP gives them joy and hope.  Parents are able to relax and enjoy  watching their children having fun like other kids, perhaps for the first  time.

The VIP Program offers acceptance and a sense of belonging, and carries through one of the six principal philosophies of AYSO: Everybody Plays.

The AYSO VIP Program was officially launched in 1991 for players with physical and/or mental disabilities. At that time and for some years following its inception, participation in the program was limited to ambulatory children through the age of 18. Several years later the ambulatory restriction was removed and the age limit extended to the length of time the player remained in school, which varied from state to state. 

In 1999, recognizing a VIP player's need for ongoing fitness and leisure activities into adulthood, the AYSO National Board of Directors removed the upper age limit for VIP players entirely. The minimum age corresponds to AYSO's age eligibility – currently 4 years of age by July 31 prior to the start of the playing season or, in some Regions with permission of the Section Director, by the date of the Region's first organized activity – camp, practice or game.

Diamond Bar AYSO has had a thriving VIP Program ~~ more than 35 players from all over the East San Gabriel Valley in 2010 ~~ for more than 15 years.  Lead by VIP-certified coach and Special Education Teacher Luzmaria Babbitt and coordinated by long-time AYSO volunteer and VIP Program Director Donice Robles, the VIP matches are an inspiration to all who have a chance to come out and watch.  Games are played every Saturday of the regular season from 9:15-10:45am at Pantera Park.

Region 31’s VIP Program is always accepting registrations and looking for energetic Buddies. If you’d like to get  involved and make a difference in the lives of our Very Important Players, please  contact Donice Robles.
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Diamond Bar AYSO

324 South Diamond Bar Blvd., #435
Diamond Bar, California 91765

Email Us: [email protected]
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